Labor Day Challenge Game Recap: Hitters vs. GRB Rays

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director – Illinois/Wisconsin

The Prep Baseball Report Labor Day Challenge was a three day tournament at Illinois State University that featured six of the top travel programs from PBR covered states around the Midwest. Five states were represented with the Giants Scout Team (Indiana), GRB Rays (Wisconsin), Hitters Baseball (Wisconsin), Ohio Elite (Ohio), St. Louis Gamers (Missouri) and Top Tier (Illinois). These teams’ rosters were littered with top ranked players in the Midwest.

The only state with two teams represented was Wisconsin with Hitters Baseball and GRB Rays. The match up between the two teams was highly anticipated and was featured as the last game of the tournament on Monday afternoon. Although both teams hail from the same state, they have rarely faced off against one another on the baseball field. Both programs are busy traveling the Midwest at some of the more high profile tournaments of the summer.

Both teams were geared up for this match up as they both sent their strongest arms to the mound. The Rays sent the No. 2 ranked prospect in the state, RHP Bryant Jordan (Home School, 2015), to the mound looking to shut down the Hitters’ lineup. The Hitters’ response was sending Doran Turchin (Oak Creek, 2015) to the bump. Turchin is not primarily a pitcher but competes hard and has a strong arm from the outfield (89 mph).

Both arms looked strong early as Bryant Jordan topped out at 89 mph working a scoreless first with the help of Pete Schuler (Kenosha St. Joseph, 2015) gunning down Owen Miller (Ozaukee, 2015) attempting to steal second after leading off the game with a base hit. Turchin was equally efficient going three up, three down in his first inning of work topping out at 88 mph.  Although both arms looked strong early, neither would last long in this game.

The Hitters scored first in the second inning as Drake Daniels (Cedarburg, 2015) led things off with a walk. Jonathan Keane (Brookfield Central, 2015) then sacrificed Daniels up to second with one out. Catcher Mike Bauer (Arrowhead, 2015) then followed up Keane’s sacrifice with a screaming line drive base hit down the line to put the Hitters up 1-0.

The Rays answered the attack in their half of the second when Pete Schuler started things off with a base hit. Schuler then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Standing at third with nobody out, Travis Berg (Eau Claire Memorial, 2016) lifted a fly ball to left field deep enough for Schuler to tag and score. Doran Turchin then got a big bases loaded strikeout to end the inning and leaving the score tied at 1-1.

The hit parade started in the third when the Hitters broke things open scoring seven runs on seven hits as they sent 11 batters to the plate. The inning was highlighted by an Owen Miller triple to the right field wall that scored a run which was then quickly followed by a Doran Turchin RBI double two pitches later. Drake Daniels would single to score Turchin, followed by a John Keane single and a two RBI single by Mike Bauer. Two batters later Henry Davies (Whitefish Bay, 2015) would single home Mike Bauer for the seventh and final run of the inning making the score 8-1.

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The Rays tried to scratch and claw their way back into it as Illinois commit, RHP Brendan Meissner (West De Pere, 2015) worked four perfect innings in relief. Meissner was highly efficient, facing the minimum 12 batters using less than 40 pitches.

GRB would score their final run in the fifth inning after Rudy Rott (La Crosse Aquinas, 2015) tripled off the right field wall. He scored later on a Pete Schuler groundout.

RHP Alex Marro (Janesville Craig, 2015) would take care of the rest for the Hitters as he held the Rays off the rest of the game. The final score had the Hitters on top 8-4 over the GRB Rays.

Top Performers:

+ Owen Miller was 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI.

+ Mike Bauer went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored.

+ Rudy Rott went 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI.

+ Brendan Meissner pitched four perfect innings in relief recording three strikeouts.

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